Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel reading from Luke 17:11-19 points to the lavish nature of Jesus’ ministry. As ten lepers were calling out for mercy, Jesus provided healing for them all. He even sent them to the priests so that they would be recognized as cleansed and be allowed back into society. This was their pass to work and to economic and social freedom. Jesus is exactly the kind of Lord who heals the sick and brings life where before there was death. He healed the ten people freely.
Only one of them returned to thank him, and that one was an outsider, a Samaritan. While every one of the former lepers owed Jesus more thanks than anyone could ever express, the one who returned was not even part of Israel. He had less claim on God’s mercy than any Israelite. Yet he recognized God at work and gave him thanks.
When Jesus gives his life to redeem sinners, he dies so the whole world can be saved. There is nobody left out of Jesus’ atonement. He died for all the descendants of the first Adam, whose sin has ruined all humanity. We should make no mistake about the extent of the atonement.
What, then, do we see? Not all whose sins have been paid for by Christ’s mercy return thanks to him. They never collect His promise, which is to be received by faith with thanksgiving. Did Jesus die for their sins? Yes. Do they receive His work for them? Apparently not. They have been given a gift of God’s grace and they reject it, preferring their own works and their own lifestyle.
This is a profoundly sad situation. Those for whom Christ died should rightly be thankful to Him in everything. Yet many do not receive His salvation with joy. They will perish in their sin, like the lepers would perish apart from God’s forgiveness. The physical healing was only part of restoration. They needed to receive the gift the rest of the way so as to live in God’s presence.
May we always give thanks to Jesus, the Lord and Savior, who has blessed us with His salvation and grace.
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